Ah Hot Wheels, you were quite the obsession of mine when I was a child. I’d constantly make little race tracks out of Lego and other assorted toys I’d have laying around and stage my own little Grand Prixs in my head much to the annoyance of my parents when they’d step on them during the night. Hot Wheels is no stranger to the world of video games; they’ve had quite a few legitimately great games over the years. So when I heard that a new Hot Wheels game was coming, you know that I immediately jumped at the chance to review it. Does Hot Wheels Unleashed have what it takes to take home the trophy or will it be left eating the dust of the competition?

The Good

Let’s start with the controls. A good racing game is nothing without fundamental controls. The driving in Hot Wheels Unleashed is utterly superb. The cars have a good sense of speed, turning is smooth and drifting is nice and weighty without being overbearing, so you always feel like you’re in control, even when races become out of control. Hot Wheels Unleashed might have the most satisfying controls I’ve experienced in a racing game in a long time.

Hot Wheels Unleashed also has a track creator. The game gives you a few locations to work with, like a basement, a college dorm or a skate park. All have their own obstacles and hidden areas that you are able to build your own tracks around. The tool is very easy to use; you can stretch, shrink and twist track pieces to your heart's content and add special pieces like loops, fans or additional obstacles leading to endless creativity in track design.

Hot Wheels Unleashed has a campaign mode that, at first glance, looks a little like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World Of Light mode. You’re put on a grid filled with different racing challenges and completing them will give you rewards like new cars or more pieces to use in the track creator.

TL;DR

  • Fantastic and rewarding controls
  • Easy to use track creator
  • Campaign mode with plenty of rewards

The Bad

Boy does it pain me to say this… Hot Wheels Unleashed has loot boxes and a Fortnite style seasonal pass. While the loot boxes themselves don’t cost real money, the seasonal pass does.

I got very lucky early on in the game and pulled a car with nearly maxed out stats all-round and it made every race way too easy, resulting in me quickly losing interest in the game.

(Disclaimer: At the time of writing, the seasonal pass was not available to purchase so I was not able to test what was in it and what kind of possible advantages it could give players)

While the Track Creator is very fun and easy to use, there is one massive downside to it: there is no undo button. If you manage to place a track piece in such a way that makes it impossible to expand the track any further, then you’ve just wasted a whole bunch of time and now you have to start all over again.

Outside of the Campaign mode and building tracks, there's really not a lot to do in the game. Once you’re done with that, all you have is to constantly spam online matches for in-game currency that you can use to buy loot boxes and hope you get a car you don’t already have.

TL;DR

  • Unnecessary Loot Boxes and a seasonal pass
  • No undo button in the track creator
  • Not a lot of gameplay outside of grinding loot boxes

Final Score: 6/10

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. I’ve been looking forward to this game for months now, only to find a fantastic game that has clearly had a lot of love put into it being bogged down by baffling and unnecessary business practices. I guess this is what video games are now, they’re no longer about entertaining people, they just want to suck you dry of your money.

Thank you for checking out our Hot Wheels Unleashed switch review, thank you to Milestone Games (via Koch Media) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

For more reading, check out our review of A Juggler's Tale.